KD launches new brand platform: ‘Gotta Be KD’

Who: Kraft Heinz Canada (KD), with Rethink for strategy and creative; JKR for package design; The Kitchen for community management; Middle Child for PR and influencers; Carat for media.

What: The brand’s first package redesign in nearly a decade, which is being accompanied by the launch of a new Canadian brand platform, “Gotta Be KD,” and the first marketing program under that platform, “Cancel Coverage.”

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running across traditional media including TV and out-of-home, supported by digital and social.

Why: “Gotta Be KD” is actually a longstanding component of the brand’s communications, with the line appearing in its advertising as far back as 2000. It also officially adopted the KD name in 2015.

But Kraft Heinz’s associate director of marketing, Scott Lougheed, said that the brand relaunch is intended to reflect the Gen Z target’s desire for originality and authenticity while also conjuring up the comforting childhood memories that may be associated with the brand. “No matter what stage of life you’re in, our revamped platform purposefully reminds our fans of the deep-rooted connection they have with KD and all the crave-worthy moments the brand can be a part of,” said Lougheed.

How (the TV spot): Soundtracked by the Sammy Davis Jr. song “I’ve Gotta Be Me”—previously used by brands as varied as Sky Q, Britain’s NHS and Diet Coke (where it was performed by Duffy)—the 30-second launch spot shows members of the Gen Z target somewhat reluctantly participating in various “adult” activities.

One works at a department store and has been pulled into a team-building exercise, while another is participating in a bridal shower, and the third is eating a fancy restaurant. All three would clearly rather be anywhere else, and eventually break away so they can eat a bowl of KD in the comfort of home. “When you gotta do you…it’s gotta be KD,” says the closing super.

How (Cancel Coverage): Arguing that “nothing feels as good as bailing on plans so you can stay in and eat KD,” Kraft Heinz is also establishing a fund to cover the fee charged by restaurants when people cancel their reservation late. For the next month, the first 500 people who upload proof that they’ve been charged for cancelling a reservation will receive $25.

The idea taps into the increasingly widespread cultural phenomenon of “bailing” on plans, with Lougheed noting that the hashtag “JOMO”—an inverse of “FOMO” that stands for the “Joy of Missing Out”—has amassed nearly 50 million views on TikTok.

“Cancel Coverage,” he said, is intended to “encourage KD fans to find moments where they can be their most authentic selves, while enjoying convenient, crave-worthy KD.”

“Many Canadians feel like they have more responsibilities and less time to be their truest selves, and sometimes self-care requires that we hit pause on social commitments and find time for ourselves,” said Lougheed. “So, to support fans in those moments where life takes over, we launched Cancel Coverage—a one-of-a-kind fund designed to help Canadians foster the joy of missing out by covering restaurant reservation cancellation fees.”

(Of course, restaurant owners still struggling to come back from the pandemic may not be as enamoured with a program that rewards bailing on a reservation. While a last-minute cancellation or no-show might seem innocuous, restaurants say that they can have a significant impact on their bottom line.)

And we quote: “Gotta Be KD highlights today’s many societal pressures and the challenge to find a moment where you can feel like your truest self. As KD continues evolving to reflect fans’ changing needs and lifestyles, the rebrand is purposefully designed to encourage new and existing consumers to embrace their authentic selves and prepare and enjoy KD in their own personal way.” — Scott Lougheed, associate director, marketing, Kraft Heinz


Chris Powell